tv Morning Joe MSNBC December 7, 2009 6:00am-9:00am EST
accident. how can anyone say it's not a real sport? he presented his wife with money not to leave him, but what's really weird is that he presented her with one of those big checks. >> it just seems so much more substantial. >> it's just -- the whole thing is pathetic. >> if my wife wants to give me $5 million in an oversized check, that's as romantic as it gets. >> really? >> good morning. welcome to "morning joe." we're along with norra ah o'donnell. >> i saw her outside. >> you begged her to come in? >> same thing with willie geist.
his wife kicks him out at 2:30 a.m. every morning and instead of running over fire hydrants, he comes in to msnbc. when willie gets in, we'll be playing a certain football game. >> oh, god. i thought ingram was injured. he should get the heisman. and that mcelroy dominated. serious. >> stop. >> no one is talking to me. a lot to cover this morning. you know those zhu zhus? >> i bought five of them for my kid. >> come on. >> there is a problem with the zhu zhu. >> biggest since the cabbage patch. >> this is a reported problem. could be a big one. also, what bob schieffer has to say about tiger woods. i think he makes a very good point. we'll play that. and we'll go over exactly what happened on saturday with the big game. everybody thought tebow would
do dominate. >> i don't want to gloat. >> watching that, probably the best day in three years. >> he's a good kid. i was doing the same thing at home for completely different reasons. he's a great quarterback and a great guy, but a great wide receiver, all class and a great athlete. we just get tired of hearing about it. >> chuck todd coming up. we'll talk about what's going on at the white house and a lot to talk about there, including the white house party crashers on "saturday night live." we must play that. but let's get to our top story of the day. wow, this came down late friday. the family of amanda knox is looking to appeal her murder conviction italy. secretary of state hillary clinton says she's open to looking into the case as well. knox sentenced to 26 years in prison for killing her british
roommate in 2007. clinton is willing to discuss concerns that anti-americanism may have played a factor in the done vicks. >> i honestly haven't had time to even consider that, i have been immersed in afghanistan. >> have you not expressed concerns to the italian government? >> i have not, not. >> keith miller is live with the very latest on this story. keith, good morning. >> good morning, mika. the family is now at the prison. some of them will be allowed in to visit amanda knox. they last saw her saturday when she was found guilty and sentenced to 26 years in prison. prison authorities have her under close observation, saying she's depressed, did he respo
respondent and exhausted. once the trial judge commits his written decision about the verdict, that will happen about in 90 days, but the wheels italian justice, mika, aren't particularly quick. i don't think we'll see an appeal go to the court for about a year. in the meantime, knox will remain in that prison awaiting what she hopes will be her day in court and perhaps winning her freedom. >> senator kentwell concerned about the anti-americanism that may have mied a role here. but there is another biased against amanda cox -- knox. and i understand there is a real town vs. gown battle that went on in that city before amanda even showed up. >> i think like any college or university town, joe, you get the townies and the people
coming in. but perugia has hosted international students here for hundreds of years. and there are international students from all over the world studying italian, renaissance art, and the like. i think knox would suffer from two things. one, she is american. and there is some concern about how america has evaded justice here. the italians said do i remember the cia undercover agents who were snatching people off the streets. they were whisked out of the country. and they point to that, for instance. but also, joe, you got to remember this legal system is not the same as the united states. they did not have to believe beyond a reasonable doubt that amanda was guilty. and so, therefore, you have the judge saying -- in fact, the prosecutor rather, joe, saying the only person that knows anything beyond a reasonable
doubt is god. go ahead and reach your verdict. very distressful, very upsetting the family. they were devastating at the guilty verdict. they were really expecting to get amanda home by christmas, joe. >> my gosh. >> they have to wait throw months to even start the appeal. nbc's keith miller in perugia. thank you. >> thank you, keith. as the united states prepares to surge 30,000 additional troops to afghanistan there, are conflicting accounts where our main terror target may be hiding. osama bin laden may be moving back and forth between pakistan and afghanistan, but defense secretary robert gates says he hasn't seen intelligence to back those claims. gates was joined by hillary clinton on the morning talk show where they worked to define the
plan. >> what we have is a specific date where we'll begin transferring responsibility for security. >> we're not talking about an exit strategy or a drop-dead deadline. what we're talking about is an assessment that in january 2011 we can begin a transition, a transition to hand off responsibility to the afghan forces. >> you know, i've seen this question raised several times. i don't understand where the lack of clarity is on the president's words on this as opposed to these two sects. >> there are a lot of people, especially on the president's left, that his base, that believe that we were going to start moving -- moving the troops out substantially in 18 months. it's very interesting. the white house sent out two hawks, hillary clinton and secretary gates to speak for them on these main shows, sending the message out, hey, you know what? this is a flexible deadline,
which causes me great concern. because i think the more flexibility we give to the karzai government, more flexibility to the afghan leaders, the more we say, you know what? we may be there another five years, another ten years. norah, obviously, secretary clinton and secretary gates were the two in those meetings saying no hard and fast timelines, and those are the two that the white house sent out. >> and they've got to say that. that it's flexible. by the time most of the troops get there, it's only going to be 12 to 14 months that they will be able to turn things around. such a short period of time in order to do that. but you get the sense on this, exit versus escalate strategy. that's why the president crafted this compromise. he pushed the bell curve to the left, it's been reported in some of the tick stock reports over
the weekend. let's get them in fast, get them out fast. i think he wants to push that exit deadline and will push hard for that. >> how hard will he push the hawks? will he defer to the generals, to gates, to clinton and will troops still be there five years from now? >> yeah. >> that's the real concern. >> and does the president get into a situation next year where he wants to start drawing down the troops that the military commanders start leaking and say we're not ready to leave. >> the harder decision has been put off, but at the same time we can give them a chance to let it happen. it wasn't something that was solved over the past six years. there's a reason. >> this is a president that's deferial to congress, to his generals and i wonder if he'll have the courage to stand up to general in 18 months when they say 18 months. the holiday break
approaching. president obama is personally appealing to senate democrats to resolve their differences to push through a final bill on health care reform. the president held a closed door meeting on capitol hill yesterday, where senators worked through the weekend on several divisive issues. republicans are united in opposition to the issue, mccain says republicans should be reaching out. >> in last october a year ago, the president of the united states and i -- i repeated it so often, that i practically have it committed to memory. c-span camera here? i think you should go right on over to the meeting there, because that was the commitment made, that the c-span cameras would be in there, democrats, republicans, so that american people would know who is on the side of the insurers and phar
pharmaand who is on the side of american people. maybe we should be so cynical that when leaders are elected they won't do what they pledged to do. a two-week summit on climate change. president obama is set to attend the conference during its last few days it comes amid new controversy sparked by hundreds of hacked e-mails that show that climate scientists conspire to make the human effect look worse on climate change. >> there has been reports that the media has underreported this. "the new york times" i believe this morning is talking about it as well. it's out there. >> it definitely is.
it will be part of the narrative as we cover the conference in cop copy copenhagen. among this years honorees at the kennedy center -- president obama was there to help honor the recipients. >> unfortunately, many of the punch lines that define mel brooks' success cannot be repeated here. i went to see "blazing saddles" when i was 10, and he pointed out that i think according to the ratings, i should not have been allowed in the theater. only a handful of people have tapped the full power of music to tell the real american story. with honesty, from the heart, and one of those people is bruce springsteen, when he rocked the
national mall before my ina inaugurati inauguration, it captured, as well as anything, the spirit of what america should be about. on a day like that and today, i remember that i'm the president, but he's the boss. >> i think we can all be united in that. willie, did you see the game on saturday? you know, the game? >> of course i saw the game. i was rejoicing as the young men wept at the end. no, i wasn't. >> i watched every second. >> alabama was great. alabama was the better team and they should win the national championship pretty easily if you believe reports this morning. >> you know, willie, i actually let our dear friend gary danielson, i thought he was very restrained in that game. a little adoration about tim tebow, i thought he was right down the middle. >> he didn't have much to talk about. that was the problem. alabama shut him down. >> yeah, it was surprising.
>> i thought gary danielson was such a gentleman on this show. >> all the horrible things that willie geist said about gary. >> that you said. >> i said he was a chosen announcer. >> up next, who is in charge? >> we're going to the rose bowl, by the way. >> we're all going. >> i'm going a week early to get us set up. >> yeah, we need to do underground work. >> yeah, i bet. up next who is in charge? obama or the generals? we'll get exclusive look at the political playbook. also, battle of the old timers. kurt warner and brett favre in a football showdown. and also, safety questions this morning involving the hottest toy of the holiday season. >> my zhu zhu thing. i just ordered five more from
ebay. >> you can't have it until you listen to this. but first bill karins with a check on the forecast. >> if you're traveling today from boston to d.c., new york, philadelphia, no problems at all. mostly cloudy, the big story is the cold in the middle of the country. same time, our friends on the coast are seeing the biggest storms they have seen in months it may snow in sacramento today. a snow warning. this will be a big deal as it moves across the country. in the east, you're fine. new orleans, possible delays. maybe minneapolis, some snow showers. when i said this is a big storm. we have blizzard watches out for the central plains. could be first blizzard of the season. that's tonight into tomorrow. you're watching "morning joe." brewed by starbucks. [ male announcer ] for over 150 years,
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washington and its many distractions. we also took steps to unlock our frozen credit markets so average americans can get the love they needed. >> delicious. >> she's perfect. >> she was -- she really captured her. okay. let's take a look at the morning papers. "the washington post" millions of dollars worth of gear left in iraq as the military is looking to move to afghanistan. and "the wall street journal" business spews over epa rules. carbon dioxide is going to be
declared a dangerous pollutant. >> "the new york times" some members of congress bent or broke rules adopted in 2007 to limit corporate uninfluence in washington. and the front page photo tells the story. alabama, s.e.c. champs. >> amazing game. "gainesville sun," dethroned, tim tebow. consoled by teammates as the tide rolls over the gators. >> i don't want to -- i certainly don't want to -- well, okay, i do. go ahead. >> you get about five minutes and then i'm going to be tired. >> five minutes of gloating. >> you've used about three already. >> very classy guy, said classy things at the end. >> and he was crying. >> you know what i hate about football games? i'm screaming and yelling the entire game, my team loses, and
then they go smile, pat and hug everybody else on the butt. hey, what's up? no! if you lose, i want you upset. i want it to ruin not only your week, but your month. a lot of people are making fun of this guy. i love that he cared about the game, the program that much. that was actually -- you know what i mean, willie? >> gently sobbing. >> i want someone to throw their heart in the game. >> every week in the tough-fought game, guys with their helmets off, laughing, tebow, it's not his fault that the middle aged announcers are in love with him. he's a great kid. >> five minutes, done. >> he has great heart. >> can we get to pliolitico now?
>> i want to talk to jim van dehide with a look at the morning playbook. >> good morning, guys. we play for the love of the game. we leave it all on the field. >> i saw you crying. >> if we get beat on a story, we weep like babies. >> i'm watching sunday shows, and i'm seeing some of president obama's best friends taking shots at him. what's going on here? >> well, there is big concern on capitol hill among some of the leading democrats that obama is getting rolled by the generals that basically the war strategy looks a lot like the one outlined by mckristol, and he won't adhere to the promise to start pulling troops back. if these generals who are very media savvy are able to make the case that they need as many troops or more troops. there is a concern, i think it will play out on capitol hill. senator levin from michigan. he's one that has been voicing
concerns. >> and dirk durbin and russ feingold both out too. very interesting there. another interesting story you have in the playbook this morning, npr, now taking on fox news i understand. what's going on there? >> well, josh has this great story this up morning, taking a look at the internal intrigue. mara liasson, a regular on fox news. political analyst, commenting on what's happening in washington, she was under some pressure to quit doing that or rethink her affiliation with fox news. the executives at npr are worried that fox has become too partisan and said we would like you to rethink your affiliation with that. and mara said i'm comfortable, but this is a good look at yanking back the curtain and seeing the pressure that news organizations are under in cable
wars and media wars. >> joe, you want to chime in on this one? >> i love npr and i listen to npr, but i've been listening to reformed, pot-smoking hippies on npr with a very substantial left-wing biased and i don't care that they eat tree bark and are still smoking pot. they put on great radio. but for the leadership at npr to question the bias of fox news is a joke. they have been biased -- again, i still listen to them, because like "the new york times" they are the best at what they do. but, please -- >> very soothing too. >> just put a mirror to your face, npr. >> we'll leave the debate of pot use at npr to joe. >> have pot used.
>> i do think it's interesting that somebody would turn down publicity in a forum to get their people out. >> jim, we'll talk to you later on the show. appreciate it. coming up, new developments on tiger woods. and, willie, are you on our show, we have nothing against current or past pot smokers. >> thank you for that disclaimer. i'm up here alone, you don't know what i'm doing on the commercial breaks. the daily beast. linking the golfer's actions to a prescription drug? and brett favre goes into arizona to take on the defending nfc champions. next on sports. keep it on "morning joe." brewed by starbucks. - ( music playing )
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oh. welcome back to "morning joe." 6:30 on the east coast. time for a quick look at the today's top stories. >> by the way that is the worst shot of d.c. i have ever seen in my life. seriously. we have a few monuments in this town, buddy. where is that? it's a bog. >> witnesses say iranians -- >> just focus on that while i
get breakfast. >> a hot bun. a hot cross bun. >> all right, norah. good morning. >> news. cut norah's mike. >> i told you i found her outside. maybe i shouldn't have brought her in. maybe she was drinking. all right. we'll just do the news. witnesses say iranian police clashed with opposition demonstrators on the streets of tehran. thousands of riot police stamped out anti-government protesters who are marking the 1953 killing of students. this thr we'll follow that story. also in the news this morning, settlers in the west bank are stepping up the resistance to the halt on new housing there. two protesters were arrested for blocking security officers from enforcing the building ban.
and the maker of one of the hottest holiday gifts coming under fire for claims that the toy could make children sick. that's a problem. the consumer product safety commission is investigating whether the robotic sfwlu zhu hamsters. -- they are great. >> contain unsafe levels of toxic metal. the manufacturer says that they have undergone testing and they are safe. >> that's good news for me. i'm down to $10. i'll double down now. willie, sports. a lot to talk about. >> i don't know what it says about my parenting. i have two kids, and i have never heard of zhu zhus. maybe i should pay more attention. >> might want to. >> brett favre and the vikings heading into arizona. he's 40 years old kurt warner is 38. a combined number of 78.
favre, giving the vikings an early lead. but this game belonged to kurt warner. anquan molden fights his way into the end zone. cardinals now 8-4. the vikings fall to 10-2. the saints got a scare in washington yesterday. in the final minutes. redskins missed an easy field goal that would have put the game out of reach, and the saints take advantage. drew brees to robert meacham. it looks like they were going to drive down and do something. but mike sellers fumbles. after a review of the play, it was ruled that he did fumble. saints win 33-30. they escape and clinch the nfc south title. how about the eagles in atlanta and michael vick returning to atlanta for the first time after he went to jail on dogfighting
charges. he was booed. but the fans came around to his side after they watched vick dancing for a touchdown. he ran for one, threw for one. eagles blow out the falcons, 34-7. and as we mentioned a little earlier, we'll say it again and again. alabama went to 13-0. won the s.e.c. title, whipping up on the gators. and alabama going to play texas in the national championship game. the sugar bowl. and in a battle of teams that thought they should have been in the championship game. undefeated tcu and undefeated boise state. and we look at the must-read opinion pages. we need help. you are watching "morning joe," brewed by starbucks.
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we're talking about afghanistan and america in the middle of the great recession. i feel we're like an unemployed couple and just went out and decided to adopt a special-needs baby. that's kind of what we're doing and that's like, whoa. that terrifies me. >> all right. my goodness. all right. a lot to cover this morning. apparently, we're getting e-mails or chris is saying go to e-mail. >> what do you got? >> this is from texas. tim tebow was crying? possibly because the loss proves that jesus just loves alabama more. >> well, i wasn't going to say anything, but thank you so much, texas, for your e-mail. >> do you think he'll get the heisman?
i thought he was so clever on the game. >> clever? you just ruined my point. >> he had a hip injury. jonathan capehart here with us now. >> editorial writer for "the washington post." >> and he spent saturday watching the game. we had a great time. wasn't it fun? >> i don't believe it. >> we'll read op-eds from sunday. what you guys were really doing this weekend, reading op-eds. >> yeah. >> we have chosen two from "the new york times." >> because maureen dowd is so snarky. >> there is another word you wanted to use. but i asked on commercial and i got a no from norah. >> would you use the word if a man had written this? >> yes. >> it's just in appropriate. >> obama's logic is no match for
wow. paralleling the afghan strategy and the crashers. >> yeah, i want to go back to the afghan strategy, though. and this is starting positi politico talking about this. gates and clinton. we've been in afghanistan for eight years, i'm very concerned about being there eight more years. and i'm very concerned that we'll need the 18 months and then we probably need a lot longer. i think how eisenhower got from normandy to berlin in less than a year and we knew the enemy was in berlin in 1944 when we started the march from normandy. we don't know where the enemy is now. maybe he's in afghanistan, maybe he's in pakistan. maybe he's not even our enemy. maybe it's the terrorists that are now spread all across the globe. enough is enough.
and what i'm hearing here is a degree of flexibility on afghanistan that's causing me great concerns. >> but a point of time in which they would like to turn back. i don't see what the problem is. i don't see how they can say 18 months and we're out of there. i mean, that's telling the terrorists, by the way. >> jonathan, let me throw it to you. you sound like dick cheney, by the way. >> that was -- >> we don't want to send the terrorists -- we don't want to send karzai the message that if you drag your feet america will stay there longer and american men and women will die even more and we'll spend billions and billions of more dollars. >> i think president obama's gamble is the threat of the start of a pullout in 2011 will be the spark of the karzai government will need to get its act together. the president said point blank this is not --
>> a war necessity. >> a war necessity, but it's also no more blank checks. it's like karzai, look, you got re-elected however you got re-elected and i think it's pretty clear from the reports i read over the weekend that karzai has gotten the message and ready to do something. weath whether he can do it by 2011 remains to be seen. >> the white house is not as affe concerned by karzai as they are about the generals. >> i think there is concern in the white house that the generals are very media savvy from petraeus to mcchrystal, that the president was furious about the leaks. he held the marathon meetings and kept his own cards close to his vest, not telling david axle rod. and there were leaks undermining
the process. they wanted to control the message and put it out in all of these tick stocktocks. as an american citizen, we don't want our generals controlled, we want to hear what they have to say. >> i wish the bush administration had listened to the generals more back in 2003/2004. but, mika, it sounds like you -- maybe you're doing this for argument's sake, but it sounds like you are supportive of an open-ended commit. >> no. i think this is a fake controversy to say the president and his secretaries are not in sync about a time line. i think they have said as much as they can. >> the timeline is meaningless. >> i'm not sure it's meaningless. i think there is rhetoric going on in order to please critics of
the president. they can't say absolutely. >> you can't put out an absolute timeline. >> i can imagine it. we have been there for over eight years. >> there's a problem. >> so we should stay another eight years? >> i don't want to. >> if you read my editor's column today, he talks about how president obama's speech last week is very similar to president bush's speech in january 2007 when he announced the surge, where he also announced a timetable for the beginning of withdrawal from iraq and got slammed by conservatives and lots of people who said what are you doing? you are sending a message to the enemy, and the same thing is happening here and look how well the surge turned out. >> and i will say conservatives are still slamming the president for the same reason you are right now, saying that there shouldn't be a drop-dead date. i disagree. >> let me quickly read maureen
>> yeah it would have been better for her to go up politically and say i messed up. >> obviously. >> norah, she is being savaged right now. >> in the media for sure. >> i've done it. not savaged her, but she should have gone to the hill voluntarily. look, this is what the office does, this is what happened last night. >> you let the social secretary testify, you can at least let the press secretary testify, you can let -- >> nobody's asking for the press secretary. >> voluntarily. not going up because congress command you, but do it because of your own free will. >> i don't know who -- >> that would have been the smart political move. still ahead, president obama catching heat for a rare, closed-door meeting on sunday with democrats. we'll get the latest gaggle out of washington with cluck todd. and sarah palin delivers a few zingers at joe biden.
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oh, yes. willie. >> i just got a little sick. >> what a pleasant morning surprise, jonathan. thank you very much. news you can't use. you know things aren't going well in your personal life when a major newspaper is keeping a running tally on your number of mitt tress. here is "new york post." number at nine. with the tally board flipping up and up. >> who has the time? >> greatest newspaper in the world? >> he is working for a girl with no clothes on the cover every day. >> i don't believe that sells newspapers. i'm outraged! >> i'm sorry have you an aversion to news. >> my favorite, he's no tiger. he's a cheetah. >> a classic. some more people -- we won't get into the tawdry details. more young ladies came out of
woodwo woodwork. including a young lady who is a server at perkins. >> leave it alone, seriously. >> no waffle house. yesterday on "face the nation" bob schieffer at the end of the show does a brief commentary. and bob schieffer on sunday morning took on tiger woods. watch this. >> tiger woods is 34 now, and worth close to $1 billion. but as his life came apart, he was still complaining about being put upon, about being able to lead a normal life. sorry, tiger, but if you wanted to be normal, you should have taken arnie's advice, just play golf with your friend like the rest of us. nobody would have cared what you did, except maybe your wife. >> are you surprised that he took on woods on sunday morning?
>> a little bit. >> tough love. >> i don't know that tiger has been wining that much really. he just said leave my family alone. >> i think he's hiding in his house. hoping it all goes away. >> it just -- got to keep those numbers down. he's chasing jack kninicklaus' mirge titles and at 9 mistresses. >> who is the one who had 100 and something -- >> wilt chamberlain. >> sarah palin, speaking in d.c. at the gridiron club. no cameras. we'll pass along some of her lines here. the goal as you know is to be funny, so she did that. said it's good to be here in front of this audience of leading journalists and intellectuals, or as i like to call it, a death panel. >> i like that. it's funny.
>> she said she really liked her hotel room, because i can see the russian embassy out my window. >> that's a good one. >> and she said if things had gone a little differently and she were vice president and joe biden was back in the real world, he would have come out of a memoir -- her words, now, called "going rogaine" instead of "going rogue" she got excellent reviews for her performance on saturday. >> i hear she did very well. >> that's what we hear. up next, no deadline for afghanistan. obama administration delivers a strong word on war strategy. and also, conflicting accounts on where osama bin laden might be hiding. we'll be right back.
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welcome back to "morning joe." it is the top of the hour. nice live look at the commerce tree. a beautiful christmas tree at rockefeller plaza. got to get the kids skating. >> did you see "the new york times" story on comcast and nbc. >> front page of the business section. very interesting. >> fascinating story. >> we have a great panel this
hour. >> this is as good as it gets. >> i'm excited. >> introduce everybody. >> pat buchanan, with us the next two hours. did you get your coffee? >> i sure did. lewis took care of me, always does. >> and jonathan capehart, and anchor of bbc world news america joins us. nice to have you on the set. a packed set in washington, along with willie geist who -- is he under the influence? is he okay? straighten up, young man. we have a lot to cover. want to get pat's take on the different viewpoints on the afghanistan "deadline" coming up. let's get to the top story. the family of amanda knox is moving to appeal her 26-year prison sentence italy for the murder of her british roommate. she was convicted of the crime late friday after a year-long trial. her parents arc long with her home state senator, maria
cantwell, question whether anti-americanism affected the case. hillary clinton says she is willing to look at the concerns. >> i haven't had time to examine that. i've been immersed with afghanistan. i had meet with anyone who has a concern, but i can't offer an opinion about that. >> you haven't expressed concern to the italian government? >> i haven't. and president obama will meet with turkey's prime minister, hoping win more support for international efforts there. and osama bin laden may be moving back and forth between pakistan and afghanistan. robert gates has not seen new intelligence on bin laden for a number of years. secretary gates and secretary of state hillary clinton spent much of sunday explaining president obama's exit strategy from afghanistan. >> is there a deadline, or is there not a deadline?
>> there is not a deadline. what we have is a specific date on which we will begin transferring responsibility. >> we're not talking about an exit strategy or a drop-dead deadline. what we're talking about is an assessment that in january 2011, we can begin a transition, a transition to hand off responsibility to the afghan forces. >> all right. let's check in with pat about the deadline. how do you feel? this is a big controversy. >> i don't think it's a fake controversy. people like myself, we're glad that after eight years, we finally did have an exit strategy. now we're being told by the secretary of defense there is "no deadline." we're being told by the secretary of state there is "no exit strategy." pat, it sounds like the generals have won and we're going to be in afghanistan indefinitely. >> the generals have won, joe.
obama's speech of last tuesday, where he said we're going in for -- we're going in until mid july 2011, and the troops are starting back home. going in in 18 months, that has been canceled out by the secretary of state and secretary of defense. we're topping out at 100,000 troops. what happened with pakistanis and afghans, americans are coming in with a surge and then going home again. and these steps have been taken by gates and hillary in order to reassure those folks, we're in there for the long haul, we're back to the long war and i'll tell you this except for the topping out at 100,000 troops this is the bush strategy. >> this is the bush strategy. and it has to sound like the bush strategy across the world. the percentage of troops in afghanistan, more american now than they were even under george w. bush. 70% of the troops will be american troops rather than 50%
under bush. the world is as skeptical of this as we are. >> that's true. and the dutch are pulling troops out. the french have come up with possibly next to 1,500 troops. nato is much less energized about this than the administration is. once they are in, and there are some results it is possible that countries like britain and france will increase troop presence incrementally. >> but the germans saying earlier they would not let their troops go out at night in afghanistan on patrols because it's too dangerous. jonathan capehart, maureen dowd in her column on the testimony on the hill talked about how this administration was becoming more and more like the bush administration. certainly, their afghan strategy is a strategy that could have been written up by george w. bush, donald rumsfeld and dick
cheney. >> remember, the president called this the necessary war. a war of necessity. >> he said that six months ago. >> and now he has it. and now he won't say the words victory, he knows he can't implement a strategy or come up with a strategy that would have the american forces lose. but again, i mentioned this in the previous half hour, "the washington post" today, my editor, fred hyatt has a piece, where he talks about the obama speech from last week is almost a mirror -- not a mirror image, but like a copy of the bush speech of january 2007 on the surge, how we need these troops, got to push in, and then we'll pull out. >> here's my problem. not only -- obviously, the greatest cost is the cost of americans' lives. but we're at 10%. 17% real unemployment. massive debts. massive debts. at $13 trillion.
going up to $20 trillion in the next decade this will spend a million dollars per troop per year. we can't afford to feel good about afghanistan. whether we pull out five years from now or ten years from now, the taliban can always come back a year later or two years later. >> that's the key question, joe. obama is going to have put more troops into afghanistan or committed more troops in his first year than were there under bush in eight years. a deadline is coming in mid-july 2011, when mcchrystal has topped out at 100,000 american troops. if he hasn't made progress, you can get mcchrystal and petraeus saying we need a few more. barack obama has scheduled for himself a real crisis in 2011. i don't think he can do it. you want to win this war in five
years? put in 300,000, 500,000 men. >> exactly. and we don't have those troops to put in. so all we're doing here is a slow bleed. >> and bad news. >> we'll talk about this more. my question is, is there a desissive decision that could have been made on this. when are you trying to balance homeland security and the human cost? i don't think there is. >> well, sure there is. >> you either go for victory or you go out. if victory is that important, security of the world depends on it, then you go all out. you send 30,000 for 18 months with the security of the world is at stake? >> and, by the way, nobody can make the argument -- i'm sorry to keep going on this. but nobody can make the argument that the security of the world rests on afghanistan. anymore -- we could have said that in 2001. >> it might rest on pakistan and here's the problem. the border between these two countries, for the people who
live there, practically doesn't exist. it's like the border between mexico and arizona 20 years ago. no fence, no cameras, nothing like that they just move across the border all the time. but we can't, or rather nato can't. you put in 100,000 troops, 400,000 troops, the taliban will melt away to pakistan and stay there, and the pakistani government has done more than they've ever done in the past, for them to go after the taliban and al qaeda really hard is incredibly difficult for domestic political reasons. this thing is fraught with gambles from beginning end. >> and our focus is on afghanistan, when everybody says the real issue here is pakistan. >> right. >> and there's nothing we can do in afghanistan that has a substantial impact on pakistan. >> we'll follow through and talk about more. moving on with news now, today, the senate will continue debate on health care legislation. with their holiday recess fast approaching -- you know how important that is -- the
president held a rare closed door meeting on capitol hill yesterday. where senators worked through the weekend on several divisive issues. no republicans are backing the bill so far, and john mccain says the president should still be reaching out to both sides of the aisle. >> the fact is, in last -- october a year ago, the president of the united states and i repeated the quote so often i practically have it committed to memory, when we gelt into health care reform, there will be republicans in the room, democrats in the room. c-span -- i think you should go right on over to the meeting there, because that was the commitment made, that the c-span cameras would be in there so that the american people would "know who is on the side of the insurers and pharma, and who is on the side of the american people." maybe we should all be so cynical when politicians run for public office they really aren't going to do what they pledge to do.
>> hmm. cynical. are you cynical? >> jonathan capehart. i'll pass it over to you many. >> great. >> john mccain upset obviously by promises made in the campaign that aren't being followed through, regarding transparency, which is what maureen dowd was talking about. >> which was big in his campaign, yes. and the senator from arizona raises a very good point. the president made this promise. cameras from c-span will be there. the american people will be part of the process by watching the process. but last i checked, c-span hasn't scheduled any coverage, because they are not there. >> and now we're hearing that bill nelson is going to blow apart this bill if the big pharma agreement is not done under. they are taking up abortion today. no way they'll get to 60 on abortion. you talked about placing odds on
50/50 on passage. i think it's more bleak than that. >> i agree with you. it may be coming back. i don't know why for the life of me. i think they have to take the hard line on abortion, and the best they can do is a trigger on the public option. that's been pretty much known. why they don't tell the progressives we can't get the public option, the trigger is best we can do. 61 with that, let's go with it and get it done. i don't know why they don't do it. >> and i think -- i think that's where we're going. >> that's where the president was a month ago. with harry reid. he'll pass it with a trigger. last weekend in october, when he met harry reid. we'll end up with a bill that progressives just don't like. >> this is trench warfare. you advance an inch, go back an inch. not pretty. >> some offensive. >> and what is the matter with you guys? >> what do you think of us?
>> there is a very simple solution. and i think part of the problem is just the american disinfatuation with government. i think governments can do some things, fight wars, may have to get involved in fixing the climate. might have to get involved when it comes to health care. >> fixing the climate. if you believe -- if you believe government can fix the climate -- >> the president is to blame, because if he had pitched his sales venture at the very beginning of this campaign, not to the 47 million american who's don't get insurance, but to the 125 million who do, say you guys are being fleeced this is the biggest bargain hunting country in the world. you hunt for bargains for car insurance, mortgages, you are paying $12,000 on average per year for health insurance, and you should be paying $6,000. >> i love it.
speaking of fixing the climate, live pictures. why not? or we can fix the research depending on what e-mail you want to read. we have live pictures from the climate change summit taking police in cop enhagen. this amid new controversy sparked by hundreds of hacked e-mails that apparently show scientists wanted to influence the affect of humans on climate change. >> climategate. climate change is not an your honor eau that americans are focused on. >> because they are focused on jobs and health care, but what the e-mails show basically is scientists are just like everybody else. petty and -- >> what the e-mails show,
though, is that climate change really is man made. it's made in this little laboratory. >> oh, pat! somewhere in the -- >> look, when you have to do something like that, you've got a problem. you haven't got the case closed. it's a fraud! it's a fraud! >> and "the new york times" wrote last week as they were going to copenhagen, climate change advocates understand that they were the low ebb right now in public support. they lost a lot of ground with the public the past two years. >> they have in this country. europe bought into climate change a long time ago. here is the problem. the e-mails are a disaster in terms for the summit. but ultimately it's a red herring. the scientific evidence is out there look at the pictures. we've done endless pieces about receding glaciers. and they don't just recede. >> antarctica is expanding.
you got 14,000 people at this summit, okay? that's what this is about. the transfer of wealth and pow every away from americans and national governments to international bureaucrats who are going to rule this world. >> you'd like that, wouldn't you, matt? >> there will need more than pitchforks for that to happen. >> i want to follow up on something matt said that i think is one of the political stories of the year. and it's this instinctive -- we lost it a year ago, but this instinctive mistrust of the federal government by americans. we saw it again in february, march, april. it's like americans started to move left and then immediately came back center right. >> there is. >> you know, it exists in britain and europe as well. there is a mistrust of institutions. i would go beyond government.
we mistrust banks, our post office. >> and in some cases rightfully so. interesting, interesting, interesting. >> and pat mistrusts the scientists in copenhagen. >> it's a big issue. >> if you are going to fix the climate, you need a lot of people. president obama catching heat for a closed door meeting with democrats. the latest gaggle out of white house with chuck todd. also what pennsylvania governor ed rendell considers the sexiest word in the english language and how it could put americans back to work. what are you saying? what's wrong with you? >> but, first, bill karins with a check on the forecast. you notice how tough it is outside and i'm always inside? works out good for me. cold. first arctic outbreak of the season. minus 3 in denver. chilly in the east too. light snow in ohio.
not going to cause many issues, but the storm out west will. this is a huge storm. it will move through the rockies today, central plains tomorrow. it won't affect the eastern seaboard until wednesday. a big rain maik err hemaker. you're watching "morning joe" brewed by starbucks. pure cane sugar and the stevia plant.
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we don't know for a fact where osama bin laden is. if we did, we'd go get him. >> when was the last time we had good intelligence? >> i think it's been years. >> years? >> i think so. >> and with us now, chief white house correspondent, chuck todd. we've been talking about afghanistan around the table this morning. just because i don't want to gloat about the university of florida on its way to another national championship. 13. an unlucky number. i'll just be quiet.
but it seems to pat and myself at least, that the generals have won this battle. they send out the two most hawkish secretaries on the sunday shows, and we hear "no deadline" and from hillary clinton "no exit strategy." haven't the generals won in this debate? >> i think they did. and i think they won weeks ago with the president. i think he really trusts secretary of defense robert gates. i mean, that is -- you know, has put his presidency in gates' hands when it comes to this issue. i think you can't say one issue is going to divide. any time we say that, something else pops up. can't say that on this issue. but on this one issue, he said, okay, bob gates, you're my guy. i trust you. you've given you guys one last shot to somehow win this militarily. and then we'll go from there beginning in 18 months, but i
think it's -- it's clear that, yes, the -- the pentagon won this -- if you're looking at who won the debate and who lost, the pentagon won this debate. >> pat buchanan. >> look, we're putting in troops for 18 months and after 18 months, we'll draw them down, pulling them out. that statement looks this morning to be inoperative because of what the secretary of state and secretary of defense said. have you this statement. it sounds like we're in for a long war. >> well, i'll be honest. that's -- i don't think those statements are in conflict here. the president said beginning in july 2011, they are going to start figuring out how to draw down. that's what he said in his speech. that's what gates has said. that's what clinton has said, and, you know, he never said when the withdrawal would end. that's why i thought a little bit, particularly on the republican side, trying to make john mccain and lindsay graham,
saying this is a date certain for withdrawal. when you're saying you're going to begin to look at withdrawal, and begin the process and whether it's one troop, but you'll begin the process, it's not a date certain for withdrawal. that's what gates said yesterday which was, hey this is a war that will be two, three, four years where we'll have troops on the ground. >> joe, let me ask you. i don't understand the controversy here. who said it was a battle between the president and the generals? the president has brought together lots of different opinions on this unbelievably convoluted issue, one that wasn't solved over the last eight years. it's not as if he took on or start thtd wed this war. now he has to try to get out. >> try to begin in 18 months to get out, and let's not sit around and pretend, oh, it's flexible. we might start taking a troop or
two out in 18 months, screaming headlines were the president would up the number of troops and we had an exit strategy. we were going to get out and that doesn't seem to be the case and if you look at the language, maybe it is consistent. i wonder, other than hard-line republicans that want to stay in afghanistan forever, do the american people really want the generals 18 months from now, saying, we're going to have to stay there longer and we need more troops, which they will say if things go badly, when we're spending a million dollars per trooper year with an economy that is collapsing, unemployment rates at 15% across the midwest. unemployment rates 50 percentage points in new england states. seriously? do americans have the appetites to keep spending billions in afghanistan for the indefinite
future? >> joe, that isn't what i've heard in all of this. what i've heard is in july of 2011 we'll know one of two things, either the strategy is working and they'll start pulling troops out or the strategy isn't and the president sounds like someone who isn't willing to double down on this, not willing to give them more troops. that's where i'm confused about how we have made -- we're looking for a difference without a distinction. i think it's -- the fact that you start a withdrawal process at a day and what you're trying to figure out, when does the withdrawal process end, and he said it in his speech. look, if the media created a headline -- if a couple of newspapers created a headline that said, hey, is he going to withdraw on 2011, that's his fault for getting it wrong. i don't think we've presented it incorrectly. and that's what he said. that's when withdrawals start. >> when you have guys like --
chuck, have you guys like david ignatus saying surge, pull out. what's going on here? the pakistanis took that out of it, and the afghans took that out of it, and americans took that out of it, is it unreasonable to take that out of his speech? >> maybe it's not. but some people have decided -- i don't get it. if you read his speech, he never said that's when the troops are all coming out. and that's why -- and, in fact, he said in the speech, conditions on the ground. if people are going to -- if david ignatius or others say putting the surge in and taking it out. it's clear it's putting the surge in. and in july 2011 we'll say it's success or failure and it won't be a troop answer after that. >> competing audiences here are all watching the same programs and reading the same blogs.
even the taliban and al qaeda are aware of the domestic political debate. there's no reason the president could have given that speech without tipping his cap to some exit date. otherwise he would have said we would be there indefinitely and that doesn't wash with public opinion in this country. but he's signaling to the taliban, just go on vacation for two years and wait for american troops to leave. let's be positive about this, optimistic. by leaving it open. by leaving that little bit of doubt, by having us debate endlessly if this is an exit strategy, it creates a little bit of doubt in the taliban's mind which is not such a bad thing either and we're all watching the same programs. guys in that pile of rocks over there and us over here. >> one thing to back up what chuck is saying, the post mo
post-mortem, he told mcchrystal you are not going to get any more troops, so develop a plan that will be successful. so as chuck was saying, there probably won't be any more troops. the president has made it clear to mcchrystal, give me a plan that will work so you don't come back in 18 months asking for more. because you've been saying we don't have the troops and we can't afford it. >> we had the secretary saying there's no deadline and no exit strategy. maybe i'm the only guy in washington, d.c. other than pat buchanan that thinks we need an exit strategy. we should have had an exit strategy before we went in eight years ago. we still don't have a deadline and i think the majority of the american public would like a hard, fast deadline. this argument, you're going to be telling the taliban when you are getting out, again, the taliban is going to be there
long after we're gone. regardless. >> all right. we will continue this. matt frey. thank you for coming in. >> the only thing more contentious is a debate on whether the bcs is relevant. >> you had to go there. >> god love alabama, but this is crazy. tcu and boise state got hosed. they should not have to play each other. make them play a big school. that's crazy. >> hey, chuck, you know what? >> roll tide. i'm excited for your boys. >> if teams like boise state and cincinnati want to be in the final mix at the end, then how about putting the texases and the alabamas and the ohio states and notre dames on the schedule. >> wait. ask your boys in tuscaloosa whether they would schedule a home at home with boise state.
no chance they would schedule an out of conference game with boise state and you know that. >> we would schedule a home at home with the new orleans saints. roll tide! >> thank you very much. jonathan capehart, great to have you on. up next, pennsylvania governor ed rendell joins us with his ideas of putting americans back to work. and amanda knox, a convicted murderer, faces years behind bars in italy. will the u.s. government get involved? and safety questions involving the hottest toy this holiday season. do you have a zhu zhu pet? >> i haven't ordered mine yet. >> keep it here on "morning joe." national car rental? that's my choice.
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streets to squash an protesters. they are protesting the killing of 1953 of three students. the maker of one of the hottest holiday gifts coming under fire. that's the sfwlu zzhu zhu, by t. the consumer product safety commission is investigating whether the robotic hamsters contain unsafe levels of the toxic metal. the maker says they are completely safe. live pictures from washington, where flags are lowered to half staff in morning in remembrance of the attack on pearl harbor. services will be held across the country to honor the more than 2,000 people killed 68 years ago today. that's a quick look at the news. we'll be back with governor ed
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and i'm also grateful for the chance to get away from washington and its many distractions. we also took steps to unlock our frozen credit markets so average americans could get the loans they needed. >> you want me in? >> no. just take it. >> all right. >> unbelievable. she's good. >> with us here in washington, democratic give nor from pennsylvania, governor ed rendell. also with us, nbc news chief
foreign affairs correspondent andrea mitchell. great to have you both, with pat buchanan and willie geist in new york. >> what's the unemployment rate in pennsylvania? >> around 8.7%, and we've been lower than the national average for the past 72 months. >> if you look at new york and the new england states, they are ravaged by high unemployment. what is the difference in pennsylvania? >> we have a large health care economy, a good i.t. economy, and we have invested in our own growth. >> what is your tax rate? >> our tax rate is -- >> friendlier than say connecticut, rhode island? >> and the cni, which is still pretty high. it's 70% corporations don't pay it, so the effective tax rate is fairly low in pennsylvania. so that helps.
but we have invested a lot. we built our infrastructure by cleaning -- we had so many environmentally screwed up sites because of steel and coal and all of those. we invested a ton of money getting those sites ready for development, and it's paid off dramatically. >> i talked to a southern governor, getting car companies to come in. and he talked about how much easier it is competing -- not against pennsylvania. and he said how do you compete against the northeast? and he said that's easy. we have lower taxes, the unions are easier to deal with here. it seems to me that when you went to new england in 1992, you were stunned by what's going on. they are getting gutted. up state new york is getting gutted. >> i went there in '92, you go down to laconia and houses are being auctioned because they can't pay the taxes. >> my gosh. >> and that was one of the
problems, president bush had gone up hundreds of time to kennebunkport. they are in the worst shape since they have been since the depression. >> the president, of course, went to allentown, one area of real pain, and he -- i was told at the democratic caucus, this unusual democratic caucus on health care on the hill and they say he had no notes or anything with him, talked from the heart. the experience that he had talked to in that meeting in allentown. that was the image they were sending out on friday. saying to the democratic senators, you cannot let this opportunity get away, and i'm told that harry reid and the others are more encouraged than ever before that they have 60 votes for a compromise. >> is that the issue, though? is the number one issue health care or jobs? >> health care is a concern, and the president is right. health care does affect the entire economic structure. but the economy is number one,
even at allentown. although the lehigh valley is coming back and getting a lot of businesses from new york and new jersey. but jobs number one everywhere. >> eye bei've been surprised by much they have been affected by cap and trade, all of these issues that are side issues rather than the main issue we've been talking about on the set for years. jobs, jobs, jobs. how does he turn the focus? >> i think it's been 23 straight months we've been losing jobs. highest unemployment since '83. which was the highest since world war ii. and i think he tried to do that with allentown. but he keeps getting pulled into things like afghanistan. of course, the health care bill. this long, long haul slaughter. >> let me ask you about management style. do you -- like your top domestic policy, would you send it to the pennsylvania legislature and say
you guys figure it out. you figure out what you want, i'll sign the bill. because i've been stunned that the president has had a hands-off approach. he went to the hill, but he wouldn't take questions and wouldn't tell them what he supported. it's a management approach i never have seen. >> i agree, joe. and it's not the management approach that a seasoned executive follows. i told the president in december, after the election, i said get your stimulus package, give it to the senators and congressmen and say you want it enacted to sign it on inauguration day. he had so much momentum going for him. i think you'll see tomorrow a very aggressive jobs program where the president is going to say to the congress, these are the things i need in a jobs bill. include these things, let's go i think he's learning. >> i hope so. because, again, i have never seen a president defer as much
as this president. >> with health care -- was it a mistake to take it on? >> was it a mistake? no. i think it wasn't a mistake. it's so integrally tied to the economy that he to take it on. >> but it's consuming the white house. has it been a distraction from everything else? >> i don't know if it's been a distraction. this is the white house, we ought to be able to multitask. >> but it appears this has gotten in the way of the number one issue that affects americans. i mean, come on. it seems like the president is late, doesn't it? on jobs? >> it's crowded out everything else since june. >> agree. but, remember, what was the first big initiative of this administration? the stimulus program. whether you like it or not, that was designed to create jobs. there wasn't enough inf infrastructure spending, for example, and the president knows that. building america's future says the best way to create jobs by
infrastructure spending. >> we've got to go. pat, the last word. >> health care consumed all his political capital. he was at 70%, and now he's down many polls below 50%. >> abe lincoln never worried about his approval rating when he was president. the president has to do what he believes in. i think you'll see a very aggressive jobs bill. significant guarantees for small businesses. investment tax credits, which we need and a whole lot of infrastructure spending and a national infrastructurebauructu. the president believes, mika -- >> i was wondering when you would get that in there. infrastructure, somehow when you say it, governor ed rendell, my heart flutters. we still need to talk about the gridiron dinner and sarah palin. >> you were there tweeting. coming up, new developments
on tiger woods. who is calling him out on the sunday talk shows? you wouldn't believe it. also, more of that in the cooler with willie geist from new york. back with more "morning joe." my doctor told me i had to start doing things for my heart, but i wasn't ready to give up taste. sometimes, sacrifice is the name of the game.
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joe" up here in new york city. we'll get you back down to joe and mika in d.c. in just a moment. but want to open up the cooler and look at some of the stuff that's going on outside the world of news and politics. president obama hosting a reception over the weekend, security was tight for this one, for the kennedy center honors. a reception honors robert de niro, bruce springsteen, mel brooks among others being honored here. this is the thing they do every year where they honor the best of culture, the best of arts in this country. talking about mel brooks' movie "blazing saddles" as a kid. >> unfortunately, many of the punch lines that have defined mel brooks' success cannot be repeated here. i went to see "blazing saddles" when i was 10 and he pointed out that, i think, according to the
ratings, i should not have been allowed in the theater. only a handful of people have tapped the full power of music to tell the real american story. with honesty, from the heart, and one of those people is bruce springsteen. when he rocked the national mall before my inauguration, i thought, it captured, as well as anything, the spirit of what america should be about. on a day like that, and today, i i remember i'm the president, but he's the boss. >> jon stewart introducing bruce springsteen says that he believes james brown and bob dylan had a baby and the result was bruce springsteen. from washington, we move to tiger woods now. there's more and more rumors over the weekend, young women coming out of the woodwork, claiming they've had relationships with tiger woods. there seems to be no end to this. and meanwhile, tiger actually had to watch his back on the sunday morning talk shows of all places. bob schieffer on cbs' "face the
nation" does a commentary segment at the end of his show. he took the occasion this weekend to address tiger woods. >> tiger woods is 34 now and worth close to $1 billion. but as his life came apart last week, he was still complaining about being put upon, about being unable to lead a normal life. sorry, tiger, we all make mistakes, but if you wanted to be normal, you should have taken arnie's advice, just played golf with your friends on saturdays like the rest of us, and i promise you, no one would have cared what you did, except maybe your wife. >> bob schieffer addressing tiger woods. how about that? one more story for you. the greatest show in the history of television, mtv's "jersey shore," the realty show where a bunch of youngsters go down to new jersey, self-proclaimed guidos, well, dominos pizza is
pulling its ads from the show. let's just hear what the show is about. they'll tell you. >> i was born and raised a guido, it's just a lifestyle, being italian, representing family, friends, tanning, gel, everything. >> so dominos coming out with a strong statement they are not about family, friends, tan, or gel. >> i haven't heard the word "guido" in 20 years. >> it used to be a derogatory term. they're taking the word back, taking ownership and stripping the power out of it. >> terrific! >> good for them, mika. >> all we need is more of that. coming up next, the latest on the amanda knox guilty verdict in italy. is there hope for an appeal and is the united states government going to step in? we'll talk to dan abrams after the break. plus, the man who escorted sarah palin to last weekend's gridiron dinner. al hunt is here with us when "morning joe" continues. great, experts.
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with multiple women in multiple cities and was involved in an alleged domestic violence incident and a car accident. how can anyone say golf isn't a real sport? it was reported that tiger woods is offering his wife, elin nordegren, $5 million to not leave him. what's really weird, he presented it to her with one of those huge, oversized checks.
>> welcome to "morning joe." joe scarborough, mika brzezinski with you, along with -- this is just huge. >> i know. where do we begin. >> an all-star panel and they're all talking about the redskins this morning. a heartbreaking loss! nbc news' andrea mitchell, pat buchanan of bloomberg's, al hunt. al, you were at the game yesterday suffering. >> joe, i haven't brought up the florida gators, why are you going to bring up the redskins. it was tragic. >> i would love to. >> the redskins have a lot of character. they were 3-9, playing the very best team in football, probably, and they outplayed them all the way, but they can't win. >> al had quite a weekend. >> from the five yard line. i want to hear about his escort. he escorted sarah palin -- >> no, he didn't. >> uh-huh, to saturday night's gridiron dinner. she was pretty good, i hear. >> i did, mika. she went into the lion's den. i've got to tell you, the lions were absolute pussy cats.
>> i can't wait to hear about it. >> they wanted to have their picture taken with her. they wanted to have her autograph. i must say, i thought it was -- i thought we -- we being the gridiron club -- did as well as ever. our two speakers were sarah palin representing the republicans and barney frank representing the democrats. >> we'll talk more about that. also in new york joining us, along with willie geist, nbc news chief dan abrams. but a number of stories, including the amanda knox case in italy. also, there are some problems with zhu zhu. >> oh, my. >> do you know what the zhu zhu is? >> yeah, it's a car, right? a yugoslavian car. >> so is it now something you don't want to give to your children. >> yes, it will kill them. >> a motorized hamster. >> allegedly kill them. we don't know. let's go ahead and start with the news. all right. as the family of amanda knox works to appeal her murder conviction in italy, secretary of state hillary clinton says she's open to looking into the
case. knox was sentenced to 26 years in prison for killing her british roommate in 2007. clinton says she is willing to discuss washington senator maria cantwell's concerns that anti-americanism may have played a factor in the conviction. >> i honestly haven't had time to even examine that. i've been immersed in what we're doing in afghanistan. of course, i'll meet with senator cantwell or anyone who has a concern, but i can't offer any opinion about that. >> so you have not expressed any concerns to the italian government? >> i have not, no. >> all right. let's bring dan abrams in here. first of all, the family begins to appeal but can't even begin that appeal for three months. give us some of the bottom lines between the difference in u.s. law and the italian courts and how that gets in the way of any appeal process. >> well, there are a differences first, at the trial level, in the sense that you only need a majority, for example, of the jury to convict. it's not an entirely lay jury.
they're allowed to read the papers. they're allowed to see what's going on out there. two of the jurors are judges, which some people would say, then wait a second, aren't all the civilians going to defer to the judges on every issue as they're deliberating? so a lot of fundamental differences at the trial level, which many say makes it at least, sort of, an antiquated legal system, at least compared to the rest of uraeurope. >> and dan, is it true in italy, you were guiltyuntil proven innocent. >> i don't want to inquire to what those hr matters are. but from what i understand -- mika's withdrawn the complaint so, i think everything's okay. >> a few of them. but in italy, is it true that you're guilty until proven innocent? >> no. wellok, that's what some are saying was effectively the case. but beyond a reasonable doubt is still the standard there when it comes to a conviction. so this was a case where serious evidence was produced.
there was dna evidence. there were her own conflicting statements. there were footprints, et cetera. this was not some tribal court, you know, on the border between afghanistan and pakistan. and as a result, i think that some were saying, sort of suggesting that this was this sort of crazy court out in the middle of nowhere are not being fair. with that said, there are differences. there were legitimate arguments brought up by the defense. there were legitimate challenges made. and i say legitimate meaning, more legitimate than you generally see in a regular trial. meaning, i think i probably would have had reasonable doubt based on what i've seen. but it's not a slam dunk one way or the other. and now in the appellate process, she's got an advantage. which is -- >> andrea mitchell? >> sorry, go ahead. >> just one quick point. that i know hillary clinton was probably taken aback by a question, she'd been up all night flying back from brussels, taping a show about afghanistan. but privately, state department officials say there's nothing they could do. amanda knox had consular access,
which is the only way the state department can intervene, if someone is in iran and not seeing a diplomat. there's nothing they can really do. clinton will of course say, i'll talk to the washington state senator, maria cantwell, but there's really nothing that can be done for amanda knox other than her attorneys. >> wow. dan abrams, at this point, i think there is a time frame, though, that they have to wait. just wrap up us with that. >> yeah. the judge is going to effectively have to file the ruling here, which is going to take some months. then after that, the official appeal begins. but the point i was going to make before is, the advantage she's got here is that when you appeal in italy, you can effectively retry the case. here, when you appeal, you challenge the legal rulings of the judge and you say, that legal ruling wasn't fair. we deserve a new trial because the law wasn't applied properly. in italy, it c be about the actual evidence and the facts. and they can retry it.
i think that's very helpful to her. >> all right. we've got a lot of news to get to. dan, stand by. and we'll move on to afghanistan now. as the u.s. prepares to surge 30,000 additional troops to afghanistan, there are conflicting accounts about where our main terror target may actually be hiding. the president's national security adviser says osama bin laden may be moving back and forth between pakistan and afghanistan. but defense secretary robert gates says he hasn't seen recent intelligence to back those claims. secretary gates was joined by secretary of state hillary clinton on the sunday talk shows, where they worked to define the u.s. time frame. >> is there a deadline or is there not a deadline? >> there isn't a deadline. what we have is a specific date on which we will begin transferring responsibility for security. >> we're not talking about an exit strategy or a drop-dead deadline. what we're talking about is an assessment that in january 2011,
we can begin a transition. a transition to hand off responsibility of the afghan forces. >> all right. with the holiday break approaching, president obama is personally appealing to senate democrats to resolve their differences and push their final bill on health care reform. the president held a closed-door meeting on capitol hill yesterday, where senators worked through the weekend on several divisive issues. while republicans are united in opposition to the legislation, senator john mccain says the president should still be reaching out. >> the fact is that last october, a year ago, the president of the united states and i have repeated the quote so often that i practically have it committed to member. that when we get into health care reform, there'll be republicans in the room, democrats in the room, the c-span cameras -- is that a c-span camera here? i should you should go right on
over to the meeting there, because that was the commitment that was made, that the c-span cameras would be in there so that the american people would, quote, know who's on the side of the insurers and pharma and who's on the side of the american people. maybe we should all just be so cynical that when politicians run for public office that they're really not going to do what they pledge to do. >> boy, al hunt, after years of getting knocked around by democrats, republicans certainly seem full of themselves and confidence. is health care still in big trouble? >> yeah, it is, joe. i'm forced to bet, it'll pass. i think it will be very, very close. i think there will be christmas bells in the background when they pass the senate. >> will it be a tepid version that progressives don't like? >> well, progressives love to complain about anything, joe. so, yes, they will complain about it, because it will not have any kind of robust public option in it. you cannot get a bill through the senate that does that. you'll have to compromise on abortion. >> the abortion restrictions are
up today. do we expect something like the house amendment to pass in the senate? >> whatever your view of that provision is, the bill would not have passed the house without the stupak amendment. so you've got to have something at least close to that. >> so pat buchanan, angry progressives, angry conservatives, it soun like the best -- >> that's good. but the guys you've got to tick off are the progressives or you're not going to get it through. if you tick off those middle of the road democrats, your bill is gone. >> you lose it. and andrea, of course, this weekend, we find out that olympia snowe and susan collins back in the mix, which suggests we are moving to the middle on this bill. >> that's exactly what's happening. i was talking to a bunch of senators after this caucus with the president. they think that they've got, you know, olympia snowe is clearly back in the mix. they think that joe lieberman is the key to getting susan collins back in, because they've worked so closely together on homeland security. they're going to write off ben nelson. they think he's asking for too much. harry reid thinks he can get to
60 without ben nelson and fc nebraska. >> the big question we were asking, is the president trying to do too much. health care perhaps something he was putting in front of other issues. now we have a debate, al hunt and andrea mitchell, want your take, on afghanistan and this timetable. is it a made-up controversy, or is the president clear and decisive on his decision -- >> i think he's clear and decisive -- >> when is the president ever -- >> they don't want to communicate the real decision. the decision is there's an exit strategy. they don't want to say that. that'll scare pakistan. there is a clear glide path out. >> how do you -- >> they don't want to be -- from talking to people very high up. >> you've talked to people at the white house and they say, we understand we've put out our two hawks this weekend, but don't listen to anything they say, there's still an exit -- even though hillary clinton said, quote, there is no exit strategy, and the secretary of defense said, quote, there is no deadline. >> once they put it out there, it's clear there's an exit
strategy. but what he was talking about in terms of this time line of july of 2011 is the beginning of a transfer. that's the dodge. it's ambiguous. >> al hunt, it sounds like a slippery slope to me. if the generals come to him 18 months from now and say, we need more troops. are there another three, fr, five years? >> even under their optimum scenario, they'll have 75,000 troops in afghanistan on january 2012. it only applies that drawdown to the 30,000, not the 60,000 that were already there. what the picture painted in the newspapers was a very difficult decision, two different sides really going at each other and a commander in chief who went and weighed both sides and calmly and coolly came down with this really -- >> i heard in "the new york times" on sunday that he actually worked 11 hours on afghanistan the day after thanksgiving. i was shocked. >> i've covered eight presidents, joe, and i've read
that story before. >> that is one -- that was one lead story. you have that picture. it was like, okay, guys, pose, one, two, three, go! >> having said that, being taken out of the shot, i also would argue, not very comfortably, would argue he probably chose the least bad option, that all the other options were so much worse. >> americans don't do decade-long wars. >> they don't. we're not into nation building, joe. >> we are here. and for eight years -- this is what shocks me. we supposedly learned from vietnam, supposedly arned from beirut, the weinberger doctrine, the powell doctrine. and here we are, eight years in, no exit strategy. we were supposed to have an exit strategy before we went in. what's our goal? can you tell me what our goal is in afghanistan? >> well, i think our goal is to try to make -- try to create some kind of society so the taliban can't totally take over and provide havens for al qaeda. that's what they would say is our goal. i think we have long since given up the goal of trying to create
a civil osociety. >> take a look at what al just said. if they draw down the troops we put in there in the surge. 70,000 troops in afghanistan on the day of the election. 70,000 close to that many -- that number right now. and mcchrystal says we're in danger of mission failure. he's going to go into an election in that situation? >> andrea? >> the real concern is pakistan. and privately, what they will tell you is that pakistan -- it's pakistan, pakistan, pakistan. and the only reason that they're in afghanistan is because of pakistan. >> but if joe biden said, if that's the case, why are we spending 50 times the amount we are in afghanistan than we are in pakistan. >> that's the best question. >> that's like saying we're going to win in vietnam by -- or, we're going to try to change the government in cambodia by winning the war in vietnam. it doesn't work. >> that may be true. but it is amazing to me that suddenly the discussion is about afghanistan as this evil war, right? leading up to this particular presidential election in 2008, there was no one who was saying,
afghanistan isn't serious, afghanistan isn't the place where we need to focus our attention. everyone seemed to agree, leading up to 2008, that if you want to talk about sort of where the real war was, where al qaeda is, it's got to be afghanistan, it's got to be the border of afghanistan and pakistan, et cetera. and now, suddenly, really, within a year, we're now talking about it as if, we're asking, what are we doing there? why are we there at all? which seems to me to be such a stark change in just a year. >> i could tell you why we were there in 2001, as could most americans, but in 2009, al qaeda's not centered in afghanistan. it's centered in pakistan. it's spread across the globe. we accomplished a lot of our goals in afghanistan by blowing up the al qaeda network and getting out the government that had sponsored bin laden. that's just not the case. where is the center of al qaeda now? >> well, it's on the afghan/pakistan border.
but i go back to andrea's point a minute ago. the question is, if we did withdrawal quickly, what would pakistan do? and the answer most people will tell you, they make a deal with the afan tib consuences i don't know wt a option. i just think the others might have been worse. >> sarah palin, how'd she do? i saw some of the quotes in "the washington post." pretty funny. pretty funny. >> first of all, what was she like one on one? >> she is, what you see is what you get. she's down to earth, she's, you know, a little bit funny. her husband is the first dude. i suggested the -- >> that is a little bit funny, by the way. >> well, "gotcha." i suggested the perfect running mate would be joe. alaska, florida, small, tall, pretty. >> oh! >> but, no, it was -- she and barney frank were both funny and they were funny in different ways and it was a gridiron dinner. it was a state of the union, it was the council of foreign
relations. >> andrea was there. >> i give her a lot of credit. i'm a new member of the club, al is a senior member of the club. al persuaded both barney frank, who doesn't come to these dinners ever, and sarah palin, great gets, al. and i think she deserves a lot of credit just for -- >> you said she was good, you think she might be running? >> i get that from a lot of things she's doing, from going to that dinner, going to iowa. i didn't have that sense before i covered her on the book tour. and once you see her out there, it's a whole different thing. >> one of her funny lines, she read a supposed passage from her book about the first time she met mccain. she said, i immediately talked to him about the banks and the leverage problems. the only person in the who had any idea who she was talking about was andrea mitchell's husband, al greenspan. and she said mccain looked at me and said, gotcha. >> pat buchanan, do you think she might be running?
>> i think she might be running. i agree with andrea, i did not think she was running, but with huckabee's problems, she comes into iowa with a pair of aces. >> tapping into this raw anger, the unemployment. it depends on the economy, but it's out there. >> all right. >> what's the sigh, mika? >> i was assuming this would be your dream ticket, pat, to cover. >> he could be the vice president. >> he could! you're right. >> joe. joe. >> that's not a natural number two person. >> stand by -- >> you think? >> coming up, we have an exclusive look inside the politico playbook, including the obama administration's strong new message on war strategy and secretary gates' pledge on troop numbers. and later, heath ledger's final performance. director terry gillium takes us inside the star's last act and what it took to finish making the movie. but first, here's bill karins with a quick check on the forecast. >> airports are looking good so
far. we're cold and chilly in many spots from boston to philly to new york. but overall, no problems today. wednesday, different story. if you have to travel in those airports wednesday, that's when the big storm that's out west will arrive in the east. the forecast for today, 40s and 50s for the eastern seaboard. cold, very cold in the middle of the country. denver, windchill minus one right now. the biggest story of the day is the storm that's moving into california. we have flooding rains that are moving through and into the l.a. area. expect an inch of rain in l.a., but the mountains could pick 3 to 4 inches. that will become a blizzard later on today for the rockies and a blizzard in the middle of the country tuesday into wednesday. this will be, by far, the biggest storm the midwest has seen in maybe even a couple of years. you're watching "morning joe" brewed by starbucks. well-informed people are considering chevy malibu. are you a cop?
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welcome back to "morning joe." time now to take a look at the morning papers. "washington post," millions of dollars worth of gear left in iraq, as the military scrambles to support an afghan troop surge, a good deal of equipment is being donated to the iraqi government. >> and "the wall street journal" -- "business fumes over epa rule." the obama administration is expected to declare carbon dioxide a dangerous pollutant. >> new york city times -- "ethic rules curb but don't end trips." they bend or adopted the rules to limit corporate influence in washington. >> and it pains me to be gloating, the tuscaloosa news, the stage is officially set,
alabama and texas to play for the national title. joe and willie going to pasadena a month early -- >> what?! >> -- to do a little extra work. >> cite surveys are critical for any good production. we'll need a month ahead of time. >> at least a month. >> you're going to the game, aren't you? >> i'm going for a month. we're all going. >> we are? >> you're going to have to cancel a couple of stops on your book tour if that's all right. >> okay, all right. no problem. >> we could have one at the rose bowl? >> we could. >> do you think? >> rose bowl book signing for mika. all things at once. >> i don't think so. >> the gainesville sun -- "sugar bowl bittersweet for florida." 24 hours after falling to alabama, the gators receive their consolation prize. sunday night, an invitation to play cincinnati in the sugar bowl. >> and secretary gates' picture on the cover of the gainesville sun. do we have "the gainesville
sun"? i don't know what's on the cover? what's on the cover? >> "sugar bowl bittersweet for florida." >> that's what i read every morning in law school. >> let's look inside the politico playbook. >> willie, we're going to take it up to new york city so you can take it down to washington, d.c. what's happening at politico. >> the chief political correspondent for politico, mike alan, he's got a look for us at the morning playbook. >> well, willie, sorry you're home alone, but happy monday. >> happy monday to you, sir. we saw a little preview of your first topic in gates. bob gates has been taking some heat, going back and forth. we've been talking about it all morning. what does the president mean with his time line. but there is one thing, apparently, that everyone's agreeing upon. what is that? >> well, there is. this was overlooked in the hill testimony on friday. one of my rules for living is that andrea mitchell is always right and this data point is further evidence of andrea mitchell's point that this policy is really an exit strategy, even though they're
not calling it that. when he was pressed on it by the senator from delaware, ted coffm coffman, vice president biden's replacement, gates said there would be no more requests to the president. that this 33,000, 34,000, is what the real number is, is all there will be. coffman said, will you ask for more, and secretary gates said, that is our commitment to the president. we won't. but, joe made the point, what if they need more, are they really going to let that country collapse? and i remind you, july 1st, "washington post." remember that famous interview in which the national security adviser, james jones, told bob woodward that if they ask the president for anymore troops, this was back in july, that it would be a whisky tango fox trot moment, wtf for the president, and that shows you how.
>> whisky tango foxtrot. >> i'm confused. >> here we go, a year before the election. mcchrystal, things are going badly, he needs more troops. he doesn't ask for more troops, he starts leaking stories to "the washington post" and woodward, you know, if they'd given the troops we needed in the first, this venture wouldn't have failed. what's the president's going to do a year before? he's going to give them the troops. this happens all the time. >> the only time it didn't when west moreland came back in '67, the year before the election, he said, i need 200,000 more, finally lbj said, you're not getting them. but lbj quit. let me tell you, if we're losing guys at the end of 2011, losing soldiers left and right and mcchrystal and petraeus say we need 20,000 -- >> they're going to give them to him. >> -- otherwise we're going down. what's he going to say?
say, i topped out in 2009? >> that's the problem, so whisky tango foxtrot, willie, they know how to play the press. a president that's running for re-election, the generals has his own political risk. >> gates said yesterday, july of 2011 is a roadweassessment, so if that includes more troops? pat buchanan and his fellow tree huggers are headed to copenhagen to protest at the u.n. climate change conference. >> this is going to be a real test of international omentum. the president was supposed to be going this week. he got a lot of criticism for upstaging every other world leader. they're like, why can't you go next week with the rest of the world leaders. so the president will be going what they hope will be the closing stages of negotiation of an agreement. but the president has a big
problem. congress, the senate is not going to do anything between now and then to bolster our position and the delegates there are going to say, show us the money. why aren't you acting when you're acting us to. >> and the last trip to copenhagen didn't go so well. do we know wi, for pat's packin are they using tear gas or rubber bullets? >> great both for breakfast. >> mike, thanks so much. >> whisky tango foxtrot. i like that. coming up next, erin burnett live from the new york stock exchange where this morning all eyes are on fed chairman ben bernanke. (announcer) the more you experience muscle pain...
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trying to talk pat buchanan into running in 2012. >> here we go. i see it. i feel it. >> we need him at this table. don't do that. >> been there, done that, joe. let's get a check on business before the bell with our international superstar, cnbc's erin burnett. she is live at the new york stock exchange. erin, all eyes on the man that you affectionately call gentle ben. tell us about it. >> gentle ben?
do i really? >> no, you've never called him that in your life, but it was a good segue. >> ben bernanke will be speaking, today it's likely going to be on the state of the economy. he'll be continuing his defense of his job. although probably in a little bit less politically motivated -- well, probably very politically motivated, but less political verbiage, shall we say. he's going to try to defend his job, but talk about how the economy continues improving. >> and we got a couple off e good -- unemployment down to 10%. also talk about the report this morning that now maybe americans only exposed to the $43 billion of the $370 spent on the banks. >> yes. well, this is a huge issue. this is where politics come into it. it will be very interesting if he actually does weigh in on what should happen to this t.a.r.p. money. but as we all know, it was $700 billion allocated and now,
according to the u.s. government, you've heard the story this morning, the t.a.r.p. could cost $200 billion less than originally thought. so that means, hypothetically, there's $200 billion sitting in some, i don't know, vault, slush fund, maybe it's virtual money, no one's really sure. but what do you do with the money? >> it's because they paid back the money. bank of america paid back the money. all of the banks paid back the money except for citi. >> in order to pay it back, they have to have the government sell its stake. that one's a little bit more complicated of a transaction. but even on the stakes the government took, those equity stakes, when hank paulson switched from saying he was going to buy the bad assets, when the government exited, some of those taxpayers did make money. but we have $200 billion more than we thought. do you use that money to immediately pay down to deficit or go out like some like nancy pelosi have said and do another stimulus program. some say, who cares, $1.4, $1.2,
what's the difference, the difference is $200 billion. it's a lot of money. there's a big argument over what to do with that money. spend it on more stimulus or pay down the debt. >> pay down the debt, i say. and we're all looking at this nbc story in "the new york times," the last line of it, absolutely stunning. brian roberts talking to nbc employees said that he was considering changing the name of nbc because, something along those lines. they asked him about it and he said, because sometimes, you know, we get really good cable channels here and sometimes that name nbc distracts from that. stunning statement. you don't have to say anything about it. >> look at -- >> in fact, you don't want to say anything about it. erin, let me read exactly what this says. >> no! >> no, it's in "the new york times". >> where is it, joe? what page. >> business, b-2. >> b-2. >> and talking to your network, talking to cnbc on thursday, mr. roberts suggested that nbc's
name sometimes distracts from the fact that nbc cable channels are, quote, fantastic. >> what?! in a way, sometimes their name gets in the way of that, mr. roberts continued. we joked about that. well, no, i mean, maybe i'm old fashioned, i think nbc carries a lot of cache. it's a special thing. isn't that the brand value he paid for? >> i think he paid zero for nbc. and i think the name comcast -- comcast nightly news isn't -- >> nbc comcast. >> you know what i'm going to do, i'm going to thank you, erin. >> mika was the only one to stay out of this. joe, you were the dumbest because you brought it up. >> idiot. erin, thank you very much. >> thank you, erin. >> bye. coming up next, our political raoundtable with senator ron wyden. and terry gilliam takes us inside heath ledger's final performance and what it took to finish making the movie.
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we're talking about afghanistan. and we're talking about america in the middle of the great recession. i feel like we're like an unemployed couple who just went out and decided to adopt a special needs baby. you know, i mean, that's really kind of what we're doing. and that's like, whoa! you know with, that terrifies me. >> wow. >> well, it terrifies me too. >> joining us now for the political roundtable, we can talk about this a little bit if we want, democratic senator from oregon, senator ron wyden joining the tame along with pat buchanan and andrea mitchell. thanks for coming in. >> thank you. >> senator, i have a concern. tom friedman sounds like he has
the same concern not shared by a lot of people in washington, that we don't have a hard and set deadline 18 months from thousand. that america is going to be in afghanistan indefinitely. can we afford that? >> i don't think so. and what i've said, because i get asked this at home all the time. people say, ron, is this going to be another vietnam? my concern is that afghanistan is going to be another afghanistan. >> another eight years! >> we have watched hundreds of years of conflict there. put me down as skeptical. >> let's talk about health care reform. you've been fighting for bipartisanship for quite some time. do you think we may get a bipartisan bill here? >> i do. i know a lot of people think that's not the case, that we're just really courting two senators from maine, but the fact of the matter is that the principles that we're fighting for, choice and competition, and senator reid, to his credit, has made some improvements to his bill in that regard, are principles that are all american. they're going to help hold premiums down, their going to help us hold the insurance companies accountable. i think we can have some real bipartisanship before we're
done. >> you know, andrea, you were talking about in pennsylvania and in other states, you only have two insurance companies competing. i, for the life of me, can't figure out why we can't knock down those boundaries and borders and let people shop across state lines. >> but you've got all of this bro bureaucracy, political and corporate, invested in these deals. it's the state insurance commissioners, the politicians in the individual states, and the companies. but you've got to break down those lines. >> why don't we do that? >> much of health insurance today is a competition-free zone. that's just a simple fact. i would support the idea of interstate shopping, as long as you have some federal consumer protections. you can't let it become a race to the bottom. but the fact is, we shop for everything else in america. most americans get little or no choice. that's not right. we ought to make a new marketplace where you have choice and competition. >> and that's the thing. i mean, we spend more money on health care than any other
country and it is -- pat, it's convoluted. why don't we have competition? >> joe, what it's all about is ever since the 1940s, during the wage and price controls, we basically walled the consumer off from selecting health care. it was all driven, essentially, by insurers. that's got to change. if we don't have competition, you can't hold -- >> will that bill do this? will i be able to shop for more than two or three or four? >> with the most recent changes from senator reid, we're moving in the right direction. it's going to be possible to make apples-to-apples comparisons of health insurance. that's going to help hold premiums down. we're only going to let the good quality plans in what are called the exchanges. that's the marketplace that's more to do. i would like, for example, people who can't afford coverage to be able to get a voucher and be able to go in the marketplace. senator reid is open to that. >> what about ending the antitrust exemption for insurance companies? why do they have that exemption?
and why should they? >> it is unconscionable. >> that drives up the price. >> the only other people who have an antitrust exemption are professional football -- it's embodied in what's called the mckaren/ferguson act. we'll have an amendment offered by senator leahy, if we can pass it. it's a step towards real competition, towards a marketplace. the marketplace is dysfunctional today and it needs to change. >> andrea? >> can i say just one tiny thing here. we all say things on these shows and sometimes we take them back or should take them back. tom friedman had an afterism, and i watched this show, where he said, doing this is like two unemployed people adopting a special needs child. i watched it with the parent of a special needs child who was practically in tears at watching what tom said. and we should just all think about that. special needs parents, adoptive and otherwise, are very special people and live a really tough life, day-in, day-out, always
fearful of what's going to happen to their child. just a moment to -- we can all be glib around the table -- >> three cheers for speaking up for them. you're being too logical. they have not had a voice and thank goodness people are finally starting to speak up. >> including sarah palin. >> another thing tom friedman was talking about is how to pay for all these initiatives beyond the war and health care. and he brought up -- >> his point is valid. >> a gas tax or something else to do two things at once, pay for, whether it's health care or a war, but also get off our dependence on foreign oil. why aren't we dealing with paying for it and dealing with something like that? why can't we say it? >> there are not a lot of rallies outside my senate office calling for more taxes -- >> i understand it's not popular. >> i think people will be open to additional revenue if they see that you're first squeezing out the inefficiency. today in america, we're going to spend $2.5 trillion this year on health care. there are 300 million of us.
you could go out and hire a doctor for every seven families in america. so let's first squeeze out the inefficiency with some of these ideas in terms of rewarding people for shopping in a new marketplace. if that's not enough, we can start talking about additional revenue. we've made it clear in the senate, it's going to cost some additional money. but let's first focus on holding the cost down. >> senator wyden, thank you very much. >> thank you, ron. >> always appreciate your coming in. >> thanks. up next, heath ledger's final performance. we'll take a look at the new movie directed by terry lliam. he joins us next on "morning joe." i drove my first car from my parent's home
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i'm sick of living like this. >> oh, really? oh, aren't you a little toughy? now, listen, you shouldn't be talking this way. all right? it's very important, what you're doing. it's family stuff. you know? maybe it's just things ought to be done a little differently. >> what differences do you suggest? >> morning. how was your sleep last night? >> that was heath ledger's final role in the new film "the imaginarium of dr. passnasus."
terry, great to meet you. thanks for coming in this morning. we were just talking about your relationship heath ledger. you've known him for six years or so, but you felt like you've known him your whole life. tell us about your relationship. >> he was just an absolutely wonderful human being. he was smart, funny. we just sort of clicked. i would throw an idea at him and he would just take it -- what he did is give it dignity. he would take the silliest things i came up and they were always grounded and real. and he was basically trying to learn everything. he was going to be directing films, working on scripts. just this energy that you couldn't believe you were dealing with somebody so clever, talented, and nice at the same time. it was -- he was like a walking cliche, is what he was. >> you said one actor you worked with called him the one. we were saying earlier, a lot of times in death people overstate
how great someone was, but we can't overstate heath ledger. >> i don't think so. everybody who worked with him, bumped into him felt this special thing about it. it wasn't just that he was the one, he had this incredible talent that was growing daily, but there was an old soul inside of him. i keep saying, he didn't die young. he was a couple 100 years. there was something so old and wise in this kid. extraordinary. >> and he was critical to the making of your new film. which you could make a film about the making of this film. tell us about how important heath ledger was, what it took to get him on board and what it meant for the success of making this movie. >> well, it was funny, because heath actually asked to be in the movie, which is the best position to find onesself in. i was showing the story boards and some special effects sequences and he was in the room and slipped me a note and he said, can i play tony?
and i asked why, and he said, i want to see this movie. and the irony, he won't get to see this movie. my films are always more difficult than you think. but once they're off the ground, we're in great shape. but he's playing the central character. and when in the middle of the film, that character dies -- or the actor dies, it's just unbelievably devastating. it's not just you're losing a great friend, but you're losing your movie at the same time. and i called a couple days after -- i called johnny depp, who is, again, a close friend of heath's, and i said, john, i don't know what i'm going to do. the film is probably over. he said, whatever you want to do, i'll be there. and that's what happened. we decided -- we found a way of continuing the imagimagic mirrot in this situation. i called other friends of heath, jude law and colin ferrell and they were available. you've got these extraordinary actors coming in and replacing
heath. >> how does that work? how do you have three guys replacing one man in the middle of a film. does it work in the movie? >> that's the astonishing thing. people who have seen the movie can't believe it wasn't made this way. the trick is to have a magic mirror. every time his character goes through the mirror, he becomes somebody else. if you're on the other side of that mirror with another person, their imagination may be stronger than yours, your face may change. >> and you're very glad that you're the man directing him for the last time. that it was not, in fact, t"the dark knight". >> well, i would like to be directing heath for the rest of my life. i thought, this is a guy i could work with on anything, no matter what it was. >> it's a great relationship between actor and director. heath ledger's last film, terry gilliam, thanks so much for sharing time with us. the new film, "the imaginarium
of doctor parnassus." can't even read it. there you go. great movie. when we come back, what, if anything, did we learn today? here's your business travel forecast. i'm meteorologist bill karins. all eyes are on our big storm coming into california. it's going to bring rain to many cities, even los angeles, and snow to areas like sacramento. a very strange event. as far as the forecast goes, everywhere in the east is just fine today. cool, partly cloudy, chicago, just snow showers. and you'll save big on the paid-in-full discount. and the anti-theft thank you. discount. and the homeowners ah! discount.
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joe." it's time to talk about what we learned today. mika, what did you learn? >> if you want more erin burnett, more pat buchanan, you can find it in an hour on wabcradio.com. >> andrew ross sorkin, ed rollins. i'll ask him if it's true that he's running a campaign for president. >> i've learned that pat buchanan will be our special correspondent in copenhagen. a tree hugger. >> i've learned that willie's got his helmet and joined a gang over there in copenhagen. >> and i learned today why gary danielson, sports legend, came on this show in the first place and he said the only reason he came on is because he's such a huge pat buchanan fan. >> we've got the molotov cocktails ready. let's get over there. i've learned that you and your
friends from tuscaloosa made a grown man cry on live television. it's just not right. >> he's crying because he didn't dominate the game. >> exactly. and willie, i want to underline this fact again that the fact tim tebow did that makes me respect him more. don't smile and hug somebody when i've been screaming for you for three hours and you lose the game. care about what you do. and i'm dead serious, he cared about what he did. good for him. >> good kid. great player. >> all right. willie, if it's way too early, what time is it? >> it's "morning joe." but right now it's time for the "morning meeting" with dylan ratigan. all right, morning to you. my name is dylan. ahead in this one-hour edition of the "morning meeting," is a proposal we've been pushing for months about to become your health care plan? after president obama hits capitol hill, there's talk of turning the same health care plan congress